Figuring Out Maps

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Figuring Out Maps

The Apple Maps app continues to be a major thorn in Apple's side. The application wasn't ready when it launched with iOS 6, and now with Google Maps hitting 10 million downloads in just a week of availability in the App Store, Apple's failure with this application is looking even worse. Next year, Apple must get Maps working properly or it should just leave maps to Google.

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Handling Mac Pro Outcry

The Mac Pro isn't often thought about among the average consumers, but for designers and heavy enterprise users, it's a huge concern. And over the past two years, that computer has not been updated and Apple has provided no guidance on when it might get a refresh. Meanwhile, complaints are mounting. Either Apple refreshes the Mac Pro next year and satisfies its core designer constituency or it loses them forever. The choice seems easy to make.

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Design Upgrades Matter

Looking around the mobile space, Apple hasn't done much to improve the look and feel of its products. Granted, the iPhone 5 is taller and thinner than the iPhone 4S, but it's still the same look and feel. Meanwhile, the iPad's basic design hasn't been updated one bit. Considering the importance of Apple's design, 2013 better be a year where it shows off something new and fresh or customers will get bored.

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More Apple Products Should Get the Retina Display

When Apple only offered the Retina display to iPhone and iPod customers, not much was expected of the company. But now that the Retina display is available in the iPad and a MacBook Pro, customers are expecting it to be made available on other devices. Next year, Apple will need to decide which products are important enough to its market strategy to get the Retina display and then make the difficult decision of putting a price tag on it to provide value while still generating a profit.

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Is That TV Coming?

When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said that he had "cracked" the code for a television, rumors started flying that his company was working on a set. Then, Tim Cook said recently that televisions are an "area of interest" for his company. All of that talk has caused Apple fans not to hope for, but expect, a television sooner than later. Apple will need to address that in 2013 or face the possibility of losing those frustrated customers to Samsung or LG.

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Android's Growth

Android should be a huge concern for Apple in 2013. During the third quarter, Android nabbed three-quarters of the smartphone market, and industry analysts believe it will end 2012 with an equally impressive market share. Next year, Apple must find a way to slow Android down, or the mobile space could start to look like the desktop OS market, where Apple has an inconsequential share.

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Google's Hardware Push

In a recent review of the Google Nexus 10, Consumer Reports found that it was the first device that could match the iPad in terms of value, reliability and purchase-worthiness. That's extremely bad news for Apple. Once again, Google has found a way to encroach upon its territory and actually match its own products. Look for that to be a big issue in 2013.

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Patent Trials

Apple is battling it out in courts all over the world with Samsung, Motorola and others over alleged patent infringement. Those cases are now starting to cost some serious cash. In 2013, Apple will need to determine whether those cases are worth it and decide if it should start playing a bit nicer with competitors.

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Samsung's Trump Cards

In the smartphone market, there's one company that's arguably beating Apple in terms of design and component quality: Samsung. In fact, the company's Galaxy S III is arguably the best smartphone available right now. In 2013, Apple must reclaim the smartphone lead from Samsung before it seriously threatens Apple's own market share.

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A New Way of Managing Operations

Earlier this year, Tim Cook decided to get rid of Scott Forstall and John Browett and realign his executive team. While he says that'll be a good thing for Apple, there's no telling if he'll be right. Next year will be an important one for Apple's executive team as it tries to manage the company without two key players. Cook has to prove he has the right management team to keep the company on track.

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